|Article by Ogova Ondego
Published January 16, 2007
Young Ugandan musician, Joel Sebunjo, has just returned to Kampala from West Africa where he worked with master musicians for three months and contributed soundtrack to a film.
“I am Planning to record my first world music album and I am looking forward to signing to a recordÂ label either here in Africa or in Europe or America,” he says, adding, “I have over the pastÂ two years recorded several singles that have hit the World music charts on radio. I am also interested inÂ making more fusion sound tracks for animated films. Of late, I have got a special attachment to animated.Of course, it all started off at the Lola Kenya Screen 2006.” OGOVA ONDEGO writes.
Subunjo was introduced to the making of film soundtrack when he entertained filmgoers and created music for Films by Children for Children during the first annual Lola Kenya Screen film festival, production workshop and market for children and youth in Nairobi in August 2006.
It was while here that he met and worked with Finnish animator, Antonia Ringbom, who facilitated a film production workshop for children and youth.
Two months later, Sebunjo went straight to Centre Culturel RIAC-Thiaroye, an arts and culture organisationÂ established by Ringbom and that focuses mainly on film animation. Here, he created the soundtrack to Ringbom’s film, Les terroristes de la terre (Terrorists of the Earth), that adresses the problem caused by polythene bags on the environment.
“I composed the title track of this film and the song is called Akavera. Akavera is
Sebunjo says he usedÂ his usual instruments, Endongo (eight-stringed lyre from Buganda), Mbira (thumb piano), Endere (flute) to a make a series of effects and music for the film.
While in West Africa, Sebunjo adds that he conducted inter-cultural music fusion with lots of musicians in Senegal including master djembe player Jeo Sene, and Bongo player Moussa who he discovered comes from Guinea Conakry.
“Towards November, I traveled to the Gambia to meet my long time music mentor, Alagi Mbye.This guy is possibly one of the best Kora players in the world. He taught me to be a master Kora Player. The kora is a very interesting instrument and it gives me much more room and freedom to express the feeling of my music. I think it’s a dream come true. Playing the kora is a remarkable achievement in my career and I know it will change my music forever.”
Writing to ArtMatters.Info in November 2006 after two months of training on the instrument from The Gambia, Sebunjo said, “The Kora is so interesting; with no doubt I will be a kora master musician when I return to East Africa in January 2007.”
Sebunjo has gone solo after completing college.Â “I broke away from my two friends, Israel Nsereko Kalungi and Ronald Kibirige Omulanda of Peace Africa Youth Ensemble because our ideas and vision conflicted,” he says.
Sebunjo says some of those who are influencing his music career are West Africans Yossour N’Dour, Salif Keita, Baaba Maal and Samite.